BJP-online Loves Maria Sturm’s You don’t look Native to me, Jean-Vincent Simonet’s psychedelic images of Tokyo, Roger Melis’ photographs of East Germany, Dawoud Bey’s exhibition Places in History, and the fact that MACK’s First Book Award is now open-entry
“It’s a bit hard to find words for this – You don’t look Native to me won the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant,” says Maria Sturm. “I feel exponentially happy and glad to be sharing the list with other women photographers whose work I admire.”
Sturm has won the prize in a strong year for the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant, with the 31 shortlisted photographers including Magnum Photos’ Diana Markosian, Sputnik Photos’ Karolina Gembara, and Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize-winner Alice Mann. But her long-term project You don’t look Native to me, which shows young Native Americans in Pembroke, North Carolina impressed the judges with its sensitive approach to its subjects.
The paradox of otherness is at the core of Maria Sturm’s You don’t look Native to me. Her subjects belong to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the largest tribe in the region with around 55,000 members, with their name taken from the Lumber River of Robeson County. Starting in 2011, Romania-born, Germany-raised Sturm spent time in Pembroke, the economic, cultural and political centre of the tribe, photographing their daily lives. It opened up questions about visibility, identity and stereotype in the US, where Native Americans are romanticised yet often dismissed. Many tribes remain officially unrecognised, though the sense of identity within the communities is very strong.
On her first visit, Sturm was struck by two aspects. “One was that almost everyone I talked to introduced themselves with their names and their tribe. The other was the omnipresence of Native American symbolism: on street signs, pictures on walls, on cars, on shirts and as tattoos.” She attended powwows (where leaders pray to Jesus, another surprise to Sturm) and spent time with locals.
Growing up in Peru in a large family “with limited resources”, photography didn’t figure large in Prin Rodriguez’s childhood. In fact her family only got its first camera – a pocket digital camera – when she was finishing secondary school, and was initially firmly against it when Rodrigeuz said she wanted to study photography. “They had the conviction that university education was a way of moving up the social ladder, and that photography did not offer any certainty of this,” she tells BJP. “For my family to have a camera was almost a luxury.”
Despite this Rodriguez persisted, and is now building a successful career in image-making. She’s currently taking part in the VII workshop in Poland, one of only 20 photographers to have been invited to join, and the only one from the whole of Latin America. Her work was recently published on the PHmuseum website, and she has co-founded the Pariacaca collective with fellow photographer Monarca Criollo.
Now in its second year, the PHmuseum Women Photographer Grant has a simple premise – to recognise and award world-class photographers, who also happen to be women. Judged this year by a prestigious panel including Magnum photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti and The Photographers’ Gallery senior curator Karen McQuaid, the Grant has two main sections – The Women Photographer Grant and the New Generation Prize for those under 30 years of age. BJP takes a look at those who have made the shortlist.
For the past five years, Ulla Deventer has been working on a project about women and prostitution in Europe – specifically in Brussels, Athens and Paris – but also, more recently, in Ghana. Several of the women she met in the project’s early days were from West Africa, and Deventer developed close friendships with some of her subjects, who inspired her to travel to their home countries to experience first-hand what life is like for women living there.
In May 2017, Deventer, who was born in Henstedt-Ulzburg in north Germany and is now based in Hamburg, spent six weeks in Accra, the capital of Ghana, where she focused her attention on the living conditions of the city’s youth, particularly its female sex workers. She recently returned to the country to continue to work on Butterflies Are a Sign of a Good Thing – an extension of her original project.
Running since 2013, the PHM Grant has a reputation for finding interesting new photographers such as Max Pinckers, Tomas van Houtryve, and Salvatore Vitale. Now the 35-strong shortlist for the 2018 has been announced, with the winners due to be announced on 08 May and four prizes up for grabs – a first, second and third in the main award, plus a New Generation Prize. Each winner gets a cash prize plus a publication on World Press Photo’s Witness, a projection at Cortona On The Move and at Just Another Photo Festival, and promotion via PHmuseum. The jury handing out the awards is made up of photography specialists – Genevieve Fussell, senior photo editor at The New Yorker; Roger Ballen, photographer and artist; Emilia Van Lynden, artistic director of Unseen; and Monica Allende, independent photo editor and cultural producer. The jury is able to give Honourable Mentions, up to six in the main prize, and up to three in the New Generation Prize.
“You’ll Know It When You Feel It feels rooted in a fundamental desire to understand members of her family and her immediate community – and to allow her audience to see these individuals in the same empathetic light.” Rosella has won first prize and £5000 in the inaugural PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant for a shot in her native Australia; the £2000 second prize went to Egyptian photographer Heba Khamis, whose project on breast ironing, Banned Beauty, was shot in Cameroon.
The deadline is approaching fast to enter the PHmuseum grant competition, which offers a total prize fund of £12,000, a solo show at the Cortona On The Move festival, a feature in the World Press Photo Foundation’s online publication Witness, and more. Photographers have until 15 February to enter their work. Arranged by the Photographic Museum of Humanity, a curated online platform, the competition has nine big-name judges this year. The main award – which offers £7000, £3000, and £1000 to the first, second and third prize-winners respectively plus various promotion in Witness, Just Another Photo Festival and the PHmuseum – will be assigned by Emma Bowkett, director of photography at the FT Weekend Magazine; Sarah Leen, director of photography at National Geographic Magazine and Partners; Ihiro Hayami, director of the Tokyo Institute of Photography; and Alejandro Chaskielberg, the award-winning Argentinian photographer. The New Generation Prize – which offers a £1000 cash prize plus mentorship from photographer and photo director Maggie Steber, and promotion via Witness, Just Another Photo Festival and PHmuseum – will be …